What is meningitis? It is an uncommon but very serious and frightening viral infection that affects the meninges, the three membranes that lie between the brain and the skull. Meningeal coverings are also found on the spinal cord and can be affected as well. It usually affects newborns and infants more so than adults. There are two types of meningitis, bacterial and viral. Viral meningitis is the most common and is the milder of the two; usually presented by a headache, bodily discomfort, and diarrhea. It usually runs its course and the symptoms clear up in two to three weeks. Bacterial meningitis is much more serious which requires very prompt, aggressive medical treatment. If prompt medical treatment is not activated then death can incur. What are the signs for meningitis? Here are five of the most serious:
- A sudden onset of fever. The skin is very warm to the touch. The fever may be 103 degrees Fahrenheit and up. Any child that presents a high fever such as this it is a true sign that something is drastically wrong; immediate action is necessary. Ironically, with some infants that contract viral meningitis, their skin may feel abnormally cool. Be prepared to experience both extremes!
- Because of the infection, sudden swelling of the meninges occurs causing a very severe headache. You may even see the head getting increasingly larger because of the build up of pressure. Please do not wait; time is extremely critical at this point. You must get to the hospital immediately!
- If your child has a stiff neck and it is so painful that the child cannot perform a routine touching of the chin to the chest, this maybe be a sign that meningitis is present.
- The child’s mental status is altered to such a degree that he is incoherent and disoriented almost to the point of acting goofy.
- The child may be so tired and drowsy that he cannot stay alert. This would be a progressive tiredness, so much so that it is difficult for the child to be awoken from sleep. Immediate medical attention must be pursued.
What can you do so that your child never has to experience a medical emergency such as this? Since meningitis is a virus and bacteria is involved, it usually affects children and even adults, for that matter, with weakened immune systems. To help strengthen your immune system naturally, look for an undenatured whey protein with cysteine. Why? Ultra pasteurization kills the most important aspect of the whey, the amino acid cysteine. Most whey proteins on the market are denatured. When whey is undenatured it means that the cysteine molecule has been kept intact. Cysteine, when combined with glutamate and glycine (both found in most foods), forms glutathione; the most important antioxidant. The effect a high level of glutathione in the body can have on your immune system is quite astounding; you are sick less often. It is true that meningitis is very vicious but the chances of contracting it are far less great when your immune system is very strong.
Hopefully you will find this information resourceful as you raise your children to be healthy adults. Diseases such as meningitis can come about so fast, but if you are prepared to see the signs, a potentially negative situation can turn into a positive one.